Pasadena, Calif. -- ABC News president Ben Sherwood
reiterated the division's focus on becoming number one in the morning, a spot
that he joked has belonged to NBC's Today
for a "billion weeks."
"The Today show is
very mighty and they've been very mighty for a very long time," he said at the
TCA press tour here. "It's an incredible priority for us to take on, to
challenge and to topple the Today
Sherwood noted that Good
Morning America has narrowed the gap with Today in the last year, and said continuing that growth, on-air and
online, is the most important goal of his.
"I like our chances," he said. "If we keep going at this
rate, I believe that we will get to our goal, which is to be number one in the
Sherwood also was asked to address the controversy over GMA coding its programs during the lesser-viewed
week between Christmas and New Year's with different titles so that they would
not be counted in Nielsen ratings averages. He said changing coding around the
holidays is standard practice.
"The holiday viewing patterns are so skewed that we consider
those to be special viewing days anyway," he said. "The growth of Good Morning America is pronounced, it's
As for the revamped CBS morning show, CBS This Morning, which launched Monday, Sherwood said he "watched
a few minutes of it," and wished the show's talent and producers well.
"Those folks are friends of ours," he said. "They're very,
very talented. I think they're going to put on a strong show. I think that
morning television and our audience benefit from a strong program over there, so
good luck to them."